Tina Costas

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

South Africa
T:+27 31 582 5663
South Africa
T:+27 31 582 5663
Tina Costas

Tina Costas



Tina is the head of the environmental department at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa and an authoritative environmental lawyer with significant expertise in environmental compliance and regulatory matters, project development, disputes and due diligence investigations.  She is skilled in  environmental, planning, occupational health and safety law, energy (renewable, gas, coal) and climate change, project development and environmental coastal management and marine pollution. She has a wide ranging regulatory and transactional practice focusing on energy, mining related issues, liability and water rights.

Tina has extensive experience in investigating and assessing environmental impacts, liabilities and compliance in both national and international companies covering a wide scope of sectors including mining (gold, ferrochrome, platinum, and coal), water, chemical and energy, land, manufacturing and forestry.

She has acted for major industries in both contentious and non-contentious matters in South Africa.

She has specific experience in wetlands, water pollution, environmental impact assessments, environmental issues within the context of mining (water, waste, regulatory issues), air emissions, waste and contaminated land.

She has managed and conducted various audits (including environmental, environmental legal compliance, environmental due diligence and ISO 14001 audits) on companies within various sectors of the industry.

Tina is a key member of NRF's Global Environmental and Social Governance [ESG] Group.  The group provides specific advice to lenders across a wide range of issues relating to environmental and social issues in respect of financed projects. The Global ESG group was appointed by the Equator Principles Association (EPA) as external counsel for the legal review of the fourth draft of Equator Principles (EP4), which was released at the end of 2019.


Professional experience

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  • BSc (Hons)
  • LLB
  • LLM (Environmental Law)
  • Lead auditor (ISO14001)
  • Postgraduate certificate in Corporate Law
  • Attorney, qualified in South Africa 2003
  • provided an opinion to BP Plc addressing regulatory requirements under South African law in the event that BP purchased carbon credits directly from South African owners of carbon credits generated by South African greenhouse gas emission projects; and summarising the impact of the Carbon Tax Act, 2019 in relation to carbon offsets and the use of carbon credits for tax exemptions. 
  • provided advice to Cummins Africa Middle East (Pty) Limited on its duties and obligations to remediate leased land that had become contaminated during the lease period.
  • preparing a detailed environmental opinion for African Carbon Energy (Pty) Ltd for a project which was submitted in the Risk Mitigation Round in December 2020. This was a complex project involving coal gasification and multiple parties with complex environmental issues.
  • we prepared a detailed environmental opinion for the FG Emvelo for the Upilanga project which was submitted in the Risk Mitigation Round in December 2020. This was a complex project involving CSP and PV plants with complex environmental issues.  (In respect of round 5 it was mandatory for project developers to submit an environmental opinion with their bid (by an attorney with more than 5 years experience).
  • undertook a detailed environmental due diligence on behalf of Enel Green Power SA (Project Matimba) including advising on any potential liability, and reviewing and advising in respect of technical operational reports.
  • conducted an environmental due diligence in order to assess the South African assets of Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A . We reviewed the environmental authorisations, permits and licences in respect of the 100MW Ilangalethu Concentrated Solar Power project.
  • advised Sappi Southern Africa on the successful closing for the financing, construction and operations of a ZAR 2 billion, 25 MW biomass power plant, developed and held in the name of independent power producer, Ngodwana Energy. The deal value in 2018 was approximately ZAR2,052,500,000 billion. This project won African Biomass Deal of the year at the IJ global awards 2019. 
  • advised Enel through its subsidiary Enel Green Power RSA as borrower's legal counsel in the development, finance, construction and operation and maintenance of 5 wind projects awarded Preferred Bidder under Round 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) in South Africa. We provided advice on the Common Terms Agreement and the applicable Equator Principles and IFC Standards and finalised outstanding environmental issues (winning Middle East and Africa: African Programme of Year  in 2019– REIPPP 4 at the PFI Awards).
  • assisted Renergen Limited to conclude a secondary listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and conducted a due diligence investigation. 
  • conducted a legal due diligence on behalf of Revego Africa Energy Fund, a dedicated renewable energy private equity investment vehicle, established by Investec Bank Limited (Investec) and UK Climate Investments (UKCI) in respect of two solarvoltaic projects situated in the Northern Cape.
  • advised Panagea Investment Management Limited, an associate of the Chinese copper giant Jiangxi Copper, on a large and highly complex USD200 million platinum metals transaction with the Lonmin group, the third largest platinum producer globally. This project won African Mining and Metals Deal of the year at the IJ global awards 2019.
  • provided legal advice to Bosch Projects as a contribution towards a feasibility study into the establishment of a bioenergy eco-industrial park. The proposed area for development was intended to take advantage of the opportunities presented through the concepts of a circular economy and economic clustering. 
  • assisted Scatec Solar ASA in finalising outstanding environmental issues in order to reach financial close on three solar photovoltaic projects. 
  • drafted opinion for lenders regarding amendment of the water use licence in respect of Karoshoek Solar One.
  • providing advice to Avery Dennison, Energiser Holdings Inc and Actom (Pty) Limited regarding waste management plans.
  • advising an international consortium in relation to its proposed participation in the Gas to Power Project in South Africa.  
  • advising a local municipality on environmental and land use planning matters relating to its opposition of a coal mine within its jurisdiction, including the drafting of its appeal submissions against the award of the mine's environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act, 1998.
  • we were appointed by Anglo Operations (Pty) Ltd to undertake a detailed analysis of a number of legacy sites (twenty) which operated between 50 and 100 years ago. This included advising on regulatory environmental legal risk and liability in respect of closure of these sites, and reviewing and advising in respect of detailed technical reports.
  • led the environmental team in finalising outstanding environmental issues relating to the sale by Anglo American of its coal mines to Seriti Coal Proprietary Limited ("Seriti").  It is a major notable deal as Seriti is aiming to become a massive diversified mining company with aspirations to be South Africa's next mining champion.
  • appointed to advise Lenders in relation to the project financing of the development, construction, operation and maintenance of a greenfield fluorspar project. We conducted a comprehensive due diligence on the environmental aspects related to the Project, identified significant risks and worked with Lenders to finalise outstanding environmental issues.  We also provided advice on the environmental aspects relevant to the Common Terms Agreement and the applicable Equator Principles and IFC standards.  It is worth noting that this project was awarded "Africa Mining and Metals Deal of the Year" by IJ Global Awards, 2018.
  • led the environmental  team in relation to the acquisition by Amsted Rail Company Inc of the interest in the Cast Metals Division of Scaw South Africa (Pty) Limited. We provided both regulatory and transactional advice relating to the deal which included a detailed due diligence in respect of the Cast Metals Division, advising on complex regulatory services such as the splitting of authorisations and shared issues relating to waste and waste water.  
  • appointed to prepare detailed responses on behalf of Eskom in respect of pre-compliance notices issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs in respect of coal-fired power stations. We advised Eskom in respect of potential applications to postpone compliance with the prescribed minimum emission standards relating to its coal fired-power station.
  • advised members of the Printing Industry Federation of South Africa in respect of the Department of Environmental Affairs' intention to include printing as a listed activity in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004.  
  • advised Exxaro Resources Limited on acquisition of Total Coal South Africa (Pty) Limited from Total SA (in respect of environmental issues relevant to the transaction).
  • advised Improchem Proprietary Limited (AECI's wholly owned subsidiary) in the acquisition of Clariant Southern Africa's water treatment business (in respect of environmental issues relevant to the transaction).
  • advised BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd in its disposal of its entire liquid petroleum gas (LPG) business in South Africa, as a going concern, specifically in relation to issues of contaminated land and rehabilitation.
  • advised the Sponsor, GDF Suez Energy Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd in connection with environmental requirements to be met in relation to the design, construction, erection, commissioning and operation of the 150MW Concentrated Solar Power Plant (Phase 1) located in the Northern Cape Province of SA (achieved financial close in 2016). 
  • advised the Sponsor, Karoshoek Consortium, in connection with the environmental consents in relation to the design, construction, erection, commissioning and operation of the 125MW Concentrated Solar Power Project located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.  The Project achieved Financial Close in February 2015.
  • advised Lenders (Nedbank Capital (a division of Nedbank Limited) and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa) in relation to the financing of the development, construction and operation of two wind power generation plants.  The Projects achieved Financial Close in February 2015.
  • advised the Sponsor, GDF Suez Energy Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd  in respect of the requirements to be met in respect of the environmental conditions as required by the Department of Energy in relation to a wind farm to be constructed in the Western Cape (achieved financial close in May 2013). 
  • advising companies on corporate governance, regulatory compliance, compliance investigations and the impact of health, safety and environmental issues.
  • Ranked lawyer for Environment – Chambers and Partners 2014 - 2021
  • Leading Practitioner – Who's Who Legal : Environment 2018 and 2019 
  • Co-authored a book on IFC Performance Standards (Chapter 3:  Performance Standard 3 : Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention) : IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability : (A Guidebook), Lexis Nexis, 2012.
  • Member of the Environmental Law Association.
  • Member of the International Association for Impact Assessment.
  • Member of Nicola (Network for Contaminated Land).